As an organisation, we are set for a defining year. 

A year ago, people across the BBC worked together to create a report on our industry: the Future of News.  Over the next three months, I’d like to draw up plans for ourselves: the Future of BBC News. 

Technology is transforming the news.  Audience expectations are changing, too. And the funding settlement for the BBC requires both cuts and the reallocation of spending. 

We are going to have to make choices. 

We’re going to start by opening up.  We will share as much information as possible.   Then, we’re going to listen hard.  We’re going to encourage discussion across News of the options open to us.  And, then, we’re going to choose. We will distill the ideas into a programme of reforms and investments.   

We start from a position of strength.

But we can’t afford to do everything.

BBC News must contribute its share to achieve the £150 million of annual savings required to reach the shortfall to 2017 caused by the decline in TV household penetration.  BBC News is committed to £5 million as part of this effort. As I said last year, we are also looking to make savings in how we run BBC Online; I will lay these out when I present the findings of the Online Creative Review.

The advertising outlook for BBC World News and bbc.com has become more difficult, which will require savings in Global News Ltd. 

The BBC World Service has been awarded £35 million by the Government in the next financial year and £85 million in each of the three following years. We are now getting to work on implementing plans that will grow our global audience.

And by the spring we have to present a plan of how we propose to meet BBC News’ share of the £550 million annual savings required by 2021/22.

And this is the task of the Future of BBC News project.  It is to set out how we are going to operate in the next Charter period.

We’ve identified four main areas where we think we will need to consider changes.

First, output.  Where do we think people are going to watch, listen to, and get their news, and what do we want to do about it?

Second, content. What can we do to tell the story better? 

Third, how do we ensure BBC News serves all audiences in the UK, regardless of age, identity, income, gender or geography? Young people are consuming less and less traditional media – how do we cater for them?

And fourth, the way we work. How do we invest in people, reduce costs, increase opportunity and improve the working culture?

Today, we have questions, not decisions.  This is not an announcement of job cuts.  It’s not even a statement on a savings target.  It’s about setting our priorities. 

The BBC is the most trusted brand in news.  We are vigilant about our values.  We are courageous and intelligent in our journalism.  And we are leading the way in innovation in our industry.    The choices we make now will determine the future of arguably the greatest journalistic organisation in the world.  

James Harding is Director, News and Current Affairs

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by Uu

    on 22 Jan 2016 00:51

    Of the 115 blogs posted on the BBC-blogs-internet website during 2015, 13 related to BBC's online and mobile application news-sites.

    Together these blogs produced 5400 comments, well over half of all 2015 posts and more than twice the total number for all 160 blogs in 2014.

    News matters, how it is collated and produced within the BBC matters, how it is distributed to the customer matters, how it is received by the customer matters - getting these to work together within budgetary constraints is not an enviable situation.

    While 'We start from a position of strength' (!) - Mr Harding why not try and 'Get Inspired' by reading and trying to understand the customer feedback from your own BBC blogs on how the news (and other BBC Online products) is received. Do NOT however rely on any of your online product 'feedback' requests - the 'we've created this great new innovation/feature/display - tell us how wonderful it is - and how we can improve it' type of survey. This may not be the intention of your questionnaires, but that is how many respondents (voiced on various blogs over the years) feel when their feedback seems to be ignored.

    My pet hates at the moment are the recent 'Notifications' tab, not wanted, nor needed but not removable; the video 'Autoplay: On' without the pre-play option of Autoplay: OFF, and for some time - the video Volume set to 8 (of 11) again without any prior method of control. I used to like the 'In Pictures' section but mainly that has been reduced to what looks like any other news page display, with the headlines, top stories and most popular distraction strip on the right side of the screen, but containing a few more photos.

    Also what many would like is not personalisation of online sites - user tinkering with BBC provided options - but user customisation, the choice to remove/select/suppress/enhance/demote/promote various features or sections of the display or content.

    When the, much missed, BBC Homepage was reduced to a quivering wreck in 2011, I created my own Homepage - it contains a couple of windows that supply the top ten RRS Feeds from BBC News and the top two items from half a dozen BBC News sub-sections - which daily, at a glance, provides me with my set of news 'one liners'; a cursor 'roll-over' provides a subject sentence, and one mouse click gives direct access to the item. Bookmarks in another window link, among other news and weather providers, to BBC Stocks and Shares, iPlayer, Radio and the BBC Homepage, a page I check occasionally for any improvements - none last year.

    Online access to general news items has, in my opinion, been much reduced by the introduction of responsive websites, large pictures and too much scrolling/swiping to locate items - I just lose interest.

    For News on my PC - I scan My Homepage and on my mobile I use the excellent BBC News App - version 2.

    The best bit of BBC News online at the moment - no adverts - and that's not much of an endorsement for my money.

    dr

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  • Comment number 9. Posted by ScottKerrUK

    on 13 Jan 2016 15:45

    Anybody know the answer to the quiz of the year 2015?

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by Oldboy

    on 11 Jan 2016 16:36

    Your coverage of Labour party matters since Mr Corbyn was elected has seen the BBC reduced to a news status lower than the Beano & Dandy. One wonders sometimes if your political presenters are going to wet themselves with excitement when describing what they see as 'difficulties' in Labour not understanding or wishing to understanding 'democracy' a subject your political masters have told you not to dwell on. In your changes you need to chuck out the old guard.

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by Ian

    on 11 Jan 2016 15:54

    Unfortunately, BBC News's recent work with the Scottish Indyref, the 2014 massacre in Gaza, and the coverage of Labour since Corbyn's election has deepy damaged it's reputation as an impartial news source, and now anyone who isn't a rabid right-winger will question your motives for reporting a story, and the tone in which it is reported. When it reaches that stage, you're no more credible a source of news than Murdoch.

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  • Comment number 6. Posted by Brekkie

    on 9 Jan 2016 16:21

    Seeing the routine with BBC3 being repeated with the news channel with it being deliberately ran down in order to make justifying closing it easier. You'll say the future is online yet the BBC News smart TV app has seen little love over the last few years - it really could do with an overhaul and being bought in line with the BBC Sport app to make it a viable alternative to any news channel.

    Also you're too scared of politicians to do anything but if any service should be closing it's the barely watched BBC Parliament. Key events are shown on BBC2 and the News Channel anyway, while the Democracy Live online service covers all political activity in a much more effective way than BBC Parliament ever can. Considering every fan of sport and anyone under 40 has had to make sacrifices BBC Parliament has to go too, with Democracy Live being made available via the connected red button instead.

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by Oakroyd

    on 8 Jan 2016 19:31

    Maybe less coverage of the shrivelling of the state and the NHS and more about royal babies. Thanks. Thanks again.

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  • Comment number 4. Posted by Oakroyd

    on 8 Jan 2016 19:28

    Fewer Old Etonians and establishment shills would help to reflect the demographic of the licence fee payers just a tad. #RoyalBabies

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Woldsedge

    on 8 Jan 2016 18:52

    Instead of looking to cut journalism and on screen contact I suggest you reduce by 20% the hideous and ridiculous layers of management, You do NOT need all these people....

    Francesca Unsworth,
    Director, BBC World Service Group

    Mary Hockaday
    Controller of World Service English

    David Holdsworth
    Controller, English Regions

    Gavin Allen
    Controller, Daily News Programmes

    Jon Zilkha
    Controller, 24/7 and Digital News

    Jonathan Munro
    Head of Newsgathering

    Fiona Campbell
    Head of Current Affairs

    Sue Inglish
    Head of Political programmes

    Richard Dawkins
    Chief Financial and Operating Officer, News

    Keith Blackmore
    Managing Editor, News

    Karl Burnett
    HR Director, News & Radio

    Richard Porter
    Controller, World Service Languages

    Liliane Landor
    Controller English, World Service Group

    ... and one more thing to remember MR Harding The BBC is owned by us the licence payer it is not your nor any politicians plaything. You nor anyone else has the right to destroy it.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by zalacain

    on 8 Jan 2016 17:37

    I think you you stick to reproting the news instead of manipulating it

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by John Traynor

    on 8 Jan 2016 16:41

    I note that the "four main areas where we think we will need to consider changes" does not include accuracy.

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